Liam Manning admits MK Dons were ‘nowhere near’ their level in Saturday’s defeat to Shrewsbury Town.
Manning’s men were beaten 2-1 at Montgomery Waters Meadow with first-half goals from Tom Bayliss and Jordan Shipley ultimately doing the damage despite Zak Jules’ headed effort.
Reflecting on the defeat, and his side’s performance, Manning was honest in his assessment and called on his players to improve – and improve quickly.
“We were nowhere near our level,” he said in his post-match press conference. “Poor decisions, poor execution and poor fight, as well.
“It was not good enough defensively and, before we even get to tactical elements, behaviour-wise, we didn’t show enough aggression to deal with their directness, or desire to go and attack the ball. We didn’t show enough discipline when defending set-pieces either.
“When you deal with the directness, you either send it back with height and distance or you cushion it down so you can play and we got caught in-between both – or doing one at a time when we should be doing the other. We didn’t control second balls either.
“We look fragile at the moment and we concede too easily. Any successful team has to be built on being hard to beat and showing the right behaviours, which we didn’t do in the first half.
“Despite all of that, we carried a threat. We had a lot of corners in the first half and got into some good areas. It was just the moments at the other end.
“We came out and responded in the second half and I felt the changes had a positive impact. Even after the sending off, we were taking the game to them which is what we should be doing from the start.
“We just can’t start games like that and we can’t just wait for a bit of adversity in order to respond. We can’t go one or two goals behind before waking up. We have to start the game with a positive mindset.”
Manning added: “We have a lot of work to do. We have to learn quick and the fortunate thing is we have another opportunity on Tuesday night to bounce back.
“It hurts all of us so we have to make sure that we respond. But, we don’t want to keep talking around what we want to do, we need to go into a game and show actions.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On finding consistency…
“It’s tough when you are going through a tough time. You want people to step up and take their opportunity and show they can be trusted. We’ve not had any consistency so far this season so we’re searching a little bit, trying to find out who can be trusted and what they can do. We want to provide opportunites and people will need time adjusting to League One and the way we want to play but the main challenge is we want to win games. We will develop players and give them opportunities but we need to win matches.”
On the red card decision…
“I haven’t seen it back but I’ve been told it was. I was also told it was a handball (for us) as well. I didn’t think the referee was very good.”
Liam Manning and MK Dons will look to bounce back on Tuesday evening when they take on Bristol Rovers at Stadium MK.
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